So you wanna be a writer?
In recent years there’s been a lot of media attention given to Creative Writing courses, and the debate regarding their effectiveness in teaching students both how to write, and practical skills that will help them in the real world. Here in the Creative Writing department at the University of Gloucestershire we believe we can do both. We can’t promise prospective students (or current students – as much as we love you) agents and book contracts and six figure deals. What we can promise is a friendly learning environment and an exciting three-year undergraduate programme taught by industry professionals, all of them established in their respective fields. In first year and throughout your degree, you will be taught by our permanent members of staff. If you’d like to find out more about your teachers, check out the profiles link above. They don’t bite. Promise. If all of this sounds like a sales pitch, it kind of is. We want you. We want good students. And to entice you we figured the best way to go about it was to present some straighforward facts about us and the course.
Here are a few other facts. At Gloucestershire we encourage students to try their hand at a wide range of writing styles and modes. We offers modules on poetry, playwriting, and prose – including the short story, novel writing, genre fiction and creative non-fiction. You can find more information about specific modules, and our course map (a fancy term for the various classes you might want to take at each level) by clicking here. As you’ll notice, we don’t offer classes on high fantasy, romance, or mainstream schlock. If one of those is your genre of choice we’d love to accommodate you but we can’t. Sorry. We just don’t teach it. We don’t teach writing for video games, either (though we occasionally play the Wii). What we do teach is good writing, in any genre. We’ll even let you dabble in horror, sci-fi, and spec fic (don’t know what that is? You should – there’s your first lesson) so long as you promise not to include any trolls, orcs, and heroes with fancy names like Prince Illiander. We like Tolkien, too, but his stuff was hip, like, fifty years ago. Get with it, kids.
Whatever classes you decide to take, you’ll receive a tonne of contact time with your lecturers, and will also be expected to be working hard on your own. We give a lot and we demand a lot. Generally each module will involve at least one lecture a week on a particular aspect of the craft of writing. For example, in DD Johnston’s first year class you’ll learn about characterization in a lecture constructed in the style of a murder mystery, while on Martin Randall’s third year novel-writing module you’ll study narrative structure in the work of JM Coetzee. Never heard of him? Time to look it up – there’s your second lesson. Alongside attending these lectures, for each class you will partake in a two-hour writing workshop with your classmates, in which students read and critique each other’s work. If that sounds scary don’t worry – it is. But you’ll get used to it. In addition to that you’ll be able to drop in on your lecturers in their offices for further help with your writing or study.
If all this seems like a lot of work, it’s because we think you’re up for it. With the increase in tuition fees throughout the UK, questions are being asked about the point and purpose of post-secondary education. More specifically, one question is being asked: is it worth it? We can answer that here and now with an emphatic yes. Why? Because we believe in the power of the written word, and the importance of self-expression. We also believe we have things to teach you. We’ll teach you the mysteries of the creative process, we’ll teach you how the industry works, and we’ll teach you about the rich history of literature. More than anything we’ll teach you how to write – so long as you’ve got a pen and paper and the desire to learn.
Find out more about studying Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire.